Heneage Finch, 2nd Earl of Aylesford (1683-1757)

Thomas Hudson (1701 - 1779)

Oil on canvas

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Hospitality, Lancaster House

    This full-length portrait shows Heneage Finch as a middle-aged man in his ceremonial dress of velvet cloak and fur trim, with a sword at his waist. Finch was the son of Heneage Finch, the first Earl of Aylesford and Elizabeth Banks. After graduating from Christ Church, Oxford University in 1700, Heneage married Mary Fisher in 1712 in Great Packington in Leicestershire. He was the Tory Member of Parliament for Maidstone from 1704 to 1705, and for Surrey between 1710 and 1719. He held the office of Master of the Jewel Office between 1711 and 1716. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Earl of Aylesford in 1719 and to the title of 2nd Baron of Guernsey in the same year. He had four children between 1713 and 1722.

    On 23 July 1937, this work was sold through Christie’s, London [Lot 61], from the collection of Heneage Michael Charles Finch, ninth Earl of Aylesford, having been removed from Packington Hall, Warwickshire. It was purchased by art dealer Joseph Joel Duveen, Baron Duveen (1869-1939), perhaps acting on behalf of the Ministry of Works (a former Government Department then responsible for the collection of art).

  • About the artist
    Thomas Hudson (1701-1779) was a portrait painter and an art collector from Devon. He was a pupil of the English artist and collector Jonathan Richardson (1665–1745), whose daughter Mary he had married by 1725. Hudson worked primarily in the West Country prior to Richardson’s retirement from painting in 1740; after this date his reputation grew in the capital as he inherited Richardson’s former clients. He is thought to have painted around 400 portraits over the course of his career, an output which was aided by his employment of the Flemish artist working in England, Joseph van Aken (c.1699–1749). He also later employed his brother Alexander (1701–1757) as a drapery painter. Hudson was one of a number of prominent artists who met at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London in the mid 1740s, at a time before formal artistic academies had been established in Britain. Other painters who frequented the coffee house include William Hogarth (1697–1764), Francis Hayman (c.1708–1776), Allan Ramsay (1713–1784), and the sculptor John Michael Rysbrack (c.1684–1770). Hudson also travelled to France and the Low Countries in 1748 with Hogarth, Hayman and van Aken. In 1752 he visited Rome, as many British artists were increasingly to do, with the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac (1695–1762).Among the list of Hudson’s apprentices are Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792), Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797), and John Hamilton Mortimer (1740–1779). After the mid 1760s Hudson received less work and soon retired to Twickenham, where he died in 1779.
  • Explore
    Finch, Heneage, 2nd Earl of Aylesford
    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Heneage Finch, 2nd Earl of Aylesford (1683-1757)
    Oil on canvas
    height: 239.00 cm, width: 147.00 cm
    Purchased from Christie's, 23 July 1937
    Collection of the Master of the Jewel Office[?]; collection of Heneage Michael Charles Finch, ninth Earl of Aylesford of Packington Hall, Warwickshire; by whom sold through Christie’s, London, on 23 July 1937 (Lot 61); from which sale purchased by art dealer Joseph Joel Duveen, Baron Duveen (1869-1939) on behalf of the Ministry of Works
    GAC number